Smartly Equipped

From Gazette editions of September, 1934:

A new church spire was put in place on St. Andrew’s church at Edgartown this week. The church, for many years without a belfry and without a bell, is to be given a voice at last. And the historic bell which has hung in three old Edgartown schoolhouses in turn, will speak again to call to service. The new spire was designed by Electus D. Litchfield, New York architect and summer resident. It was built in the shop of Frank Norton and Son and slid up to the roof of the church where it was hoisted into place. A cross surmounts the spire, which is simple and unpretentious.

The bell which it is hoped to be placed in the tower is the same bell which was in what used to be called the red schoolhouse; later it hung in the old north school, and still later in the south school. The bell is believed to be the same one given to the town many years ago by Dr. Shiverick, father of Mrs. W.C. Nevin. The bell was rung so hard at the time of Lee’s surrender that it was cracked and had to be shipped away for repair or recasting. It is said to contain silver which adds to its tone a better quality than most old bells possess.

Rescued from the dump to which it had been consigned, a Goddard buggy which in its day was the very smartest type of horse-drawn equipage, appeared on the streets of Edgartown. Formerly owned by Julian Vose, who brought it to the Island when he moved here from Boston, it became the property of about half the small boy population of Edgartown, judging from the number who swarmed to ride on its seat, upholstered in blue, or to put their shoulders to the shafts, or to tug at the ropes they substituted for the shafts at times. Mr. Vose presented the buggy to Bobby Carroll and Bobby Morgan, never dreaming that it was to be used on the main stem once again.

The appearance of the lofty old buggy, still in a fair state of repair, provided an interesting occupation for the spectators who racked their brains for the elusive word, consulted old-timers and the dictionary, and played with words like cabriolet, surry, stanhope, etc., only to be assured that it was a plain buggy afterall, though certainly a glorified variety. The firm of Carroll and Morgan reported a thriving business hiring out rides. Receipts yesterday morning were more than a dollar, and Main street traffic had been threaded without a casualty.

The celebration of the 264th year of the beginning of Christian missionary work at Gay Head this year calls to mind the old Indian Bible translated into the Indian language in 1663. It was given to the Library of Congress by Ainsworth Spofford while he was librarian there. His father, Rev. Luke Spofford, was pastor of the Congregational church in Chilmark. There are only three copies of this Bible known to be in existence, and it is kept in a well guarded room.

The introduction is in English: “To the High and Mighty Prince, Charles the Second, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, the Commissioner of the United Colonies in New England, With all Happiness.

“Most Dread Sovereign, As our former Presentation of the New Testament was Graciously Accepted by Your Majesty; so with all humble Thankfulness for that Royal Favour, and with like hope, we are bold now to Present the Whole Bible. Translated into the language of the Natives of this Country, by a Painful Laborer in that Work, and now Printed and Furnished. The Rev. Mr. Elliot of Roxbury near Boston who has been stated the Great Indian Apostle has with unusual labour learned the Native Dialect.”

Looking back over the summer, one finds considerable cause for satisfaction. So far as business was concerned--since that is the phase about which most questions are asked — the season was measuraably better than that of a year ago. True, business was still uneven, some hotels and some merchants doing much better than others. But the general level was higher, rentals were better, more visitors came, and the Island as a whole was busier in a desirable way. With another year of improvement we may expect activity to spread and strengthen until it includes almost everyone.

Island life, too, was free from disturbing factors to a satisfactory degree. There were relatively few violations of motor laws, and still fewer important violations. There were few accidents, a fact which attests to the safety of Island beaches and Island roads. The summer was marked, also, by a continuation and growth of interest in preserving the beauty of the Vineyard towns and countryside and in eliminating unfavorable factors.

It is a great satisfaction, also, if we may point to it without snobbishness, that more important persons came to the Island than ever before — important in all phases of life, though the names of many are not often in the headlines — and their enjoyment of the Vineyard was thorough and genuine. We have every proof that what the Island needs to do to be loved by visitors is just to be itself.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner